Manila - A SWIMMER from De La Salle, a softball player from Adamson University, and a high-school taekwondo jin from University of Santo Tomas (UST) will share the spotlight as Athletes of the Year in Season 74 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) which formally closes Saturday, March 10 at the PICC Forum in Pasay City.
Green Tanker Johansen Benedict Aguilar, Lady Falcon Rizza Bernardino and Tiger Cub Joaquin Mendoza will be feted alongside UST, the general champion in both the juniors and seniors divisions, in the formal yet festive closing ceremony that starts at 1 p.m.
Aguilar, who won seven gold medals in the swimming competitions will also join seven other Athlete Scholars who will be given due recognition this season—Ma. Theresa Piza (Adamson, women’s volleyball), Antoinette Altomonte (Ateneo, softball), Marilourd Socorro Borja (Far Eastern University, women’s basketball), Bobby Ray Parks Jr. (National University, men’s basketball), Angelo Miguel Carandag (UST, men’s swimming), Kimverly Gatpolintan (University of the East, women’s badminton) and Marion Louise de Luna (University of the Philippines, softball).
Season 74 president Ricky Palou of host Ateneo will lead the closing ceremonies and will turn over the UAAP flag symbolic of the general host of next season to NU’s Nilo Ocampo.
Besides the awards and recognition to the outstanding performers of Season 74, the closing ceremonies will also be highlighted by the second edition of the street dancing competition where De La Salle is the defending champion.
Aguilar clinched seven individual gold medals, setting a then new Philippine record in the men’s 50 meters backstroke of 27.52 seconds and two UAAP records—100 and 200 backstoke—in Season 74 action last September at the Trace Aquatics Center Laguna. The last UAAP swimmer to win seven gold medals was Enchong Dee, also of De La Salle who is now a television personality, in 2009.
Aguilar, a consistent Dean’s Lister, later shattered the national 50m backstroke in the 26th Southeast Asian Games in Palembang with a time of 27.29 seconds last November.
Bernardino, the season MVP from Sta. Cruz, Laguna, taking up Physical Education with a major in Sports Wellness Management at the San Marcelino campus, practically scooped all individual awards in Season 74—Best Hitter, Slugger and Pitcher and Most RBI. She was the National Open’s Best Hitter and was with the Blu Girls in the World Cup of Softball as well as the Garuda Cup.
Mendoza, the high school sophomore, was quick to make an impact in UAAP juniors taekwondo. After emerging top rookie last season, he clinched MVP honors in Season 74, clinching gold in the boys’ lightweight class. UAAP